6000 is the new 10,000 steps!

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It has been revealed that a popular recommendation of taking 10,000 steps a day for better health was based on a sales gimmick.

Now recent research suggests that 6,000 steps might be the beneficial numberl! Let me explain more below.

The idea of aiming for 10,000 steps per day originated in Japan in the 1960s when a pedometer called “manpo-kei” (which translates to “10,000 steps meter”) was introduced. The number 10,000 was chosen because it sounded like a good goal and was easy to remember. Over time, this recommendation became widely accepted and promoted globally.

“It was just sort of a catchy phrase,” says I-Min Lee, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Taking that many steps daily is challenging but doable for many people. “Sure, if you get 10,000 steps, it seems like a good goal. But there was not really any basis to it.”

“When it comes to health, every step counts,” Chaturvedi from Amrita Hospitals said “The benefits of moving are evident at even as low as 4,000 steps a day and continue to increase with increasing activity. The biggest benefits are seen in the first 5,000 steps with the magnitude decreasing with increasing step count. In fact, walking faster increases the benefits.”

50,000 steps per week is a reasonable goal — which translates to about 6000- 7000 steps per day.

7 simple ways to burn more calories while walking

However, more recent studies have challenged the necessity of reaching this specific step count.

2019 study involving 16,741 women who ranged in age from 62 to 101 found that “4,400 steps a day was associated with a 41% reduction in mortality compared with walking 2,700 steps a day, [and walking] around 7,500 steps was associated with a 65% reduction.”

Another study showed progressively decreasing risk of mortality for people under 60 when they logged 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day.

Here are some points to consider:

  1. Health Benefits: The primary goal of walking is to improve overall health. Research shows that even moderate physical activity, such as walking, can have significant health benefits. These benefits include improved cardiovascular health, better mood, weight management, and reduced risk of chronic diseases.
  2. Individual Variation: The ideal step count varies from person to person. Factors like age, fitness level, and health conditions play a role. Some individuals may experience health benefits with fewer steps, while others may need more.
  3. Intensity Matters: Instead of focusing solely on step count, consider the intensity of your activity. Brisk walking or other forms of moderate exercise can be just as effective as accumulating a high step count. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week (which can be achieved through walking).
  4. Realistic Goals: Setting achievable goals is essential for long-term success. If 10,000 steps feel overwhelming, starting with 6,000 steps (or any other number) is perfectly fine. Gradually increase your daily activity level as you feel comfortable.
  5. Consistency: Consistency matters more than hitting a specific step target. Regular physical activity, regardless of the exact step count, contributes to better health.

While the World Health Organization recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise), there is no guideline linked to the easily measured step count. This is because of the limited number of studies showing the relationship between step count (and intensity) with health outcomes.

mums walking babies prams

If you want to use the time it would take you to do those extra 4000-5000 steps why not do some weights and strength training while you are at it!

Easiest ways to get your daily steps in

Here are a few ideas to help you get those daily steps in without feeling like its a hard task.

  • Take the stairs
  • Walk on the treadmill
  • Walk the dog
  • Walk to work or school
  • Park further away
  • Talk and walk!
  • Vacuum the whole house
  • Mow the lawn
  • Chase the kids outside
  • Family walk after dinner

Can you really lose weight walking 10,000 steps a day – and why this number?

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